Carl Lewis Backs Tokyo 2020 to Host "Tremendous Games"

Athletics legend Carl Lewis (USA) today voiced support for Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The nine-time Olympic champion visited the city's National Stadium, the scene of his 'greatest race ever' and observed the plans for the total renovation of the stadium, which symbolises Tokyo 2020's innovative vision for the Games.

Lewis said, "I'm all for progress. I believe in high-technology, I believe in state-of-the art new stadiums for people. It makes it more comfortable, and leads to improved performances by the athletes. Japan has always been a very high-tech community and I think it will be a showcase for a stadium probably more high-tech than any stadium that's ever been made. I think it will be a great place to be.

"It's always wonderful to be back in Japan and I wish them the best of luck because I think they will put on a tremendous Games. I will be at the 2020 Games wherever it is, and I hope it's here," he added.

The legendary sprinter has a strong affinity for Tokyo, where he said he ran "the best race of my life" in setting the 100-metre world record during the 1991 IAAF World Championships in Athletics at the stadium.

"The fans really know sports and understand the events, and for me it was tremendous because when I came here in 1991 it was just this huge flow of energy and even in the qualifying rounds people came out to watch in the morning and oftentimes that doesn't happen. They love sports of all ages and it's not just Athletics because it's my sport, it's a lot of the other sports. They love the team sports. That's the thing about Japan that's tremendous. They have had success at every level," he noted.

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member and President of both the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tokyo 2020, said, "It is a true honour to welcome the legendary Carl Lewis, without a doubt one of the most accomplished athletes of our generation. His strong endorsement of Tokyo echoes the widespread international sentiment for our Bid and our goal to deliver a dynamic celebration in the heart of Japan's capital. The Tokyo 2020 Bid plan is poised to demonstrate Tokyo's unmatched organisational skills that provide athletes with a perfect world stage on which to excel."

Over the weekend Mr. Lewis visited north-eastern Japan's quake-struck Tohoku region with fellow American track and field legends Willie Banks, former triple jump world record holder, and Mike Powell, who also had a stellar 1991 World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo by setting a long jump world record that amazingly still stands. There, they met with children to provide coaching and pass along their strong passion for sport and the Olympic Movement to Japans' future generation.

Lewis said, "Kids were great and the energy of the people was amazing. I just think people came together and they have a spirit that they're going to bring it back and better than ever. It's been a real great visit back to Japan. I've been here many times and it's always great to be here. And we hope some of the kids we were working with yesterday will maybe be back here in 2020."
Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis is a huge fan of Japan: "Japan is also an incredibly friendly welcoming culture and it always has been."

Carl Lewis

Legendary Athletics Star Carl Lewis at the National Stadium